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Collected Quotations

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This file contains a list of quotes from modern and historical sources.

This file, was HTMLized by Jim

Note: I collect these off the net and do not research their veracity. Quotes that have been questioned by readers are so marked. -turf

“In the end more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free.”
Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)

“A government with the policy to rob Peter to pay Paul can be assured of the support of Paul”

“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.”
George Bernard Shaw

“It is often easier for our children to obtain a gun than it is to find a good school.”
Joycelyn Elders

“Maybe that's because guns are sold at a profit, while schools are provided by the government.”
David Boaz

“When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.”

“We won't dispassionately investigate or rationally debate which drugs do what damage and whether or how much of that damage is the result of criminalization. We'd rather work ourselves into a screaming fit of puritanism and then go home and take a pill.”

“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”

P.J. O'Rourke

“I would rather live in a society which treated children as adults than one which treated adults as children.”

“We hate our politicians so much that even if they tell us they lied, we don't believe them.”
Peter Newman

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

“There is no underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

H.L. Mencken

“We find two great gangs of political speculators, who alternately take possession of the state power and exploit it by the most corrupt ends -- the nation is powerless against these two great cartels of politicians who are ostensibly its servants, but in reality dominate and plunder it.”
Friedrich Engels

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

“An election is nothing more than an advance auction of stolen goods.”
Ambrose Bierce

“Every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of society as great as he can. He generally neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. He intends only his own gain, and he is, in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was not part of his intention.”
Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

“People who object to weapons aren't abolishing violence, they're begging for rule by brute force, when the biggest, strongest animals among men were always automatically 'right.' Guns ended that, and social democracy is a hollow farce without an armed populace to make it work.”
L. Neil Smith, _The Probability Broach_

“You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.”
Charles Austin Beard, historian

“The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half-century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner.”
Report of the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 97th Congress, Second Session ( February 1982 )

“They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. And then they came for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
Rev. Martin Niemoeller, a Protestant minister in Nazi Germany, in 1945; from “Political Quotations”, Daniel B. Baker, ed.

When they took the fourth amendment, I was silent because I don't deal drugs.
When they took the sixth amendment, I kept quiet because I know I'm innocent.
When they took the second amendment, I said nothing because I don't own a gun.
Now they've come for the first amendment, and I can't say anything at all.

Tim Freeman

“I guess you will have to go to jail. If that is the result of not understanding the Income Tax Law, I will meet you there. We shall have a merry, merry time, for all our friends will be there. It will be an intellectual center, for no one understands the Income Tax Law except persons who have not sufficient intelligence to understand the questions that arise under it.”
Senator Elihu Root of NY, 1913

“A sure sign of a genius is that all of the dunces are in a confederacy against him.”
Jonathan Swift

“I am convinced that we can do to guns what we've done to drugs: create a multi-billion dollar underground market over which we have absolutely no control.”
George L. Roman

“The politicians don't just want your money. They want your soul. They want you to be worn down by taxes until you are dependent and helpless.”

“When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both.”

James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union

“To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin”

Cardinal Belleramine

“If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.”
Frank Herbert, The Dosadi Experiment

“The NSA can have my private key when they pry it from my cold, dead neurons.”

“If we have to kill 12 people to save 1 human life it will have been worth it.”

“Banning Assault Weapons to fight crime is as stupid as banning condoms to prevent rape.”

“Virtually all reasonable laws are obeyed, not because they are the law, but because reasonable people would do that anyway. If you obey a law simply because it is the law, that's a pretty likely sign that it shouldn't be a law.”

“The U.S. Constitution may be flawed, but it's a whole lot better than what we have now.”

“If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we put Clinton there?”

“It's dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.”

“The welfare state reduces a citizen to a client, subordinates them to a bureaucrat, and subjects them to rules that are anti- work, anti-family, anti-opportunity and anti-property... Humans forced to suffer under such anti-human rules naturally develop pathologies. The evening news is the natural result of the welfare state.”


“If CON is the the opposite of PRO, does that mean that CONgress is the opposite of PROgress?”

“Since when is "public safety" the root password to the Constitution?”
C. D. Tavares

“America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”
John Quincy Adams

“I do not believe that the government should have its long nose poked into the private consensual relationships between people.”
John Anderson, Independent presidential candidate, 1980

“When goods don't cross borders, soldiers will.”

“The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.”

Fredric Bastiat, early French economist

“Manufacturing and commercial monopolies owe their origin not to a tendency imminent in a capitalist economy but to governmental interventionist policy directed against free trade and laissez faire.”
- Ludwig Mises, “Socialism”

“For every new mouth to feed, there are two hands to produce.”
Peter T. Bauer

“They [The makers of the Constitution] conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone - the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.”

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficial ... the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”

Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, 1928

“Tariffs, quotas and other import restrictions protect the business of the rich at the expense of high cost of living for the poor. Their intent is to deprive you of the right to choose, and to force you to buy the high-priced inferior products of politically favored companies.”
Alan Burris, _A Liberty Primer_

“Perhaps the removal of trade restrictions throughout the world would do more for the cause of universal peace than can any political union of peoples separated by trade barriers.”
Frank Chodorov

“Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge where there is no river.”
Nikita Khrushchev

“We have rights, as individuals, to give as much of our own money as we please to charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of public money.”
David Crockett, Congressman 1827-35

“The legacy of Democrats and Republicans approaches: Libertarianism by bankruptcy.”
Nick Nuessle, 1992

“The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”
John Philpot Curran, 1790

“Our schools have been scientifically designed to prevent overeducation from happening. The average American (should be) content with their humble role in life, because they're not tempted to think about any other role.”
U.S. Commissioner of Education, William T. Harris, 1889

“Truth and news are not the same thing.”
Katharine Graham, owner of The Washington Post

“The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a bit longer.”
Henry Kissinger

“I'm a politician, and as a politician I have the perogotive to lie whenever I want.”
Charles Peacock, ex-director of Madison Guaranty, the Arkansas S&L at center of Whitewatergate.

“We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. ”
Stephen Schneider, environmental activist, in _Discover_, Oct. '89

“The children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society that is coming, where everyone would be interdependent.” 1899

“Independent self-reliant people would be a counterproductive anachronism in the collective society of the future where people will be defined by their associations.” 1896

John Dewey, educational philosopher, proponent of modern public schools.

“Motion pictures are of course a different medium of expression than the public speech, the radio, the stage, the novel, or the magazine. But the First Amendment draws no distinction between the various methods of communicating ideas.”
William O. Douglas, Supreme Court Justice, 1953

“The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this.”
Albert Einstein, “My First Impression of the U.S.A.”, 1921

“I think the terror most people are concerned with is the IRS.”
Malcolm Forbes, when asked if he was afraid of terrorism

“Let the people decide through the marketplace mechanism what they wish to see and hear. Why is there this national obsession to tamper with this box of transistors and tubes when we don't do the same for Time magazine?”
Mark Fowler, FCC Chairman

“They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
Benjamin Franklin, 1759

“The usual road to slavery is that first they take away your guns, then they take away your property, then last of all they tell you to shut up and say you are enjoying it.”
James A. Donald

“Every friend of freedom must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence.”

“The high rate of unemployment among teenagers, and especially black teenagers, is both a scandal and a serious source of social unrest. Yet it is largely a result of minimum wage laws. We regard the minimum wage law as one of the most, if not the most, antiblack laws on the statute books.”

Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize-winning economist

“Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence”
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark - Mapp vs. Ohio

“A policy of subsidizing failures will end in an economy strewn with capital-guzzling industries long past their time of profitability - old companies that cannot create jobs themselves, but can stand in the way of job creation.”
George Gilder, _Wealth and Poverty_

“A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.”
Barry Goldwater

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”

“Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”

Patrick Henry

“No man has ever ruled other men for their own good.”
George D. Herron

“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicity.”

“If we were directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we would soon want for bread.”

“No nation was ever drunk when wine was cheap.”

“Our liberty depends on freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

“Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations - entangling alliance with none.”

“Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.”

“That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.”

“The care of every man's soul belongs to himself. But what if he neglect the care of it? Well what if he neglect the care of his health or his estate, which would more nearly relate to the state. Will the magistrate make a law that he not be poor or sick? Laws provide against injury from others; but not from ourselves. God himself will not save men against their wills.”

“I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”

“History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose. ”

“It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

Thomas Jefferson

“Our forefathers made one mistake. What they should have fought for was representation without taxation.”
Fletcher Knebel, historian

“...You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer...”

“Prohibition... goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes... A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”

Abraham Lincoln

“Those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them.”
George Santayana

“Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has any right to but himself. The labor of his body and the work of his hands are properly his.”
John Locke, 1690

“There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.”
James Madison

“The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of any of their number is self-protection.”

“A general State education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another; and as the mold in which it casts them is that which pleases the dominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, an aristocracy, or a majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body.”

John Stuart Mill, 1859

“The primary reason for a tariff is that it enables the exploitation of the domestic consumer by a process indistinguishable from sheer robbery.”
Albert Jay Nock

“Taxation of earnings from labor is on a par with forced labor. Seizing the results of someone's labor is equivalent to seizing hours from him and directing him to carry on various activities.”
Robert Nozick, Harvard philosopher

“Alcohol didn't cause the high crime rates of the '20s and '30s, Prohibition did. And drugs do not cause today's alarming crime rates, but drug prohibition does.”

“Trying to wage war on 23 million Americans who are obviously very committed to certain recreational activities is not going to be any more successful than Prohibition was.”

US District Judge James C. Paine, addressing the Federal Bar Association in Miami, November, 1991

“The moral and constitutional obligations of our representatives in Washington are to protect our liberty, not coddle the world, precipitating no-win wars, while bringing bankruptcy and economic turmoil to our people.”
Congressman Ron Paul, 1987

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”
William Pitt, 18 Nov 1783

“Altruism does not mean mere kindness or generosity, but the sacrifice of the best among men to the worst, the sacrifice of virtues to flaws, of ability to incompetence, of progress to stagnation--and the subordinating of all life and of all values to the claims of anyone's suffering.”

“The man who produces while others dispose of his product is a slave.”

“It stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there is service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be master.”

“Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.” [Francisco d'Anconia]

“I swear by my life and my love for it that I will never live for the sake of another man or ask another man to live for mine.” [John Galt]

“I am interested in politics so that one day I will not have to be interested in politics.”

Ayn Rand

“Pragmatism is the convenient conclusion reached by those who lack the patience or intelligence to formulate a consistant ideology.”
Mark G. Hanley

“Regulation - which is based on force and fear - undermines the moral base of business dealings. It becomes cheaper to bribe a building inspector than to meet his standards of construction. A fly-by-night securities operator can quickly meet all the S.E.C. requirements, gain the inference of respectability, and proceed to fleece the public. In an unregulated economy, the operator would have had to spend a number of years in reputable dealings before he could earn a position of trust sufficient to induce a number of investors to place funds with him. Protection of the consumer by regulation is thus illusory.”
Alan Greenspan

“I oppose registration for the draft... because I believe the security of freedom can best be achieved by security through freedom.”
Ronald Reagan

“Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of men and deny equal privileges to others: The Constitution of this Republic should make a special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom.”
Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence

“When I was a kid I was told anyone could become President. Now I'm beginning to believe it.”

“The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.”

Will Rogers, 1920's

“Minimum wage laws tragically generate unemployment, especially among the poorest and least skilled or educated workers... Because a minimum wage, of course, does not guarantee any worker's employment; it only prohibits, by force of law, anyone from being hired at the wage which would pay his employer to hire him.”
Murray N. Rothbard, For a New Liberty

“It's no longer an issue of contention that privatization is a solution. You can always rely on government to make the right decision, but only after it has exhausted every other conceivable alternative.”
E. S. Savas, a management professor at Baruch College in New York who advised Giuliani during the campaign.

“Decriminalization would take the profit out of drugs and greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the drug-related violence that is currently plaguing our streets.”
Kurt L. Schmoke, Baltimore Mayor

“They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?”
Paul Harvey 8/31/94

“Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.”
Joseph Stalin

“Now what I contend is that my body is my own, at least I have always so regarded it. If I do harm through my experimenting with it, it is I who suffers, not the state.”

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

“Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that the only distinctly native American criminal class is Congress.”

Mark Twain

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship.”
Alexander Fraser Tyler, “The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic”

“Although I am a strong political conservative, I now believe that the costs of our fruitless struggle against illegal drugs are not worth the modest benefits likely to be achieved.”
Prof. Ernest van den Haag, contributing editor, National Review

“Ironically, on the 200th anniversary of our Bill of Rights, we find free speech under assault throughout the United States, including on some college campuses.” 4-May-1991
George Bush

“'Pro-[legalized]-drug' teachers cannot be tolerated.” 12-Apr-1991
Bob Martinez

“People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.
Dan Quayle

”Even the most Bush-happy, flag suckling jack-arse knows deep-down inside that something is wrong. America is over and everyone knows it. The New World Order has a dying empire odor and changing the channel ain't going to make this go away.“
Jello Biafra

”A protective tariff is a typical conspiracy in restraint of trade.“
Thorstein Veblen, economist

”Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.“

”It's illegal to say to a voter “Here's $100, vote for me.” So what do the politicians do? They offer the $100 in the form of Health Care, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Food Stamps, tobacco subsidies, grain payments, NEA payments, and jobs programs.“
Don Farrar - average guy, age 51

”We propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders. People are the great resource, and so long as we keep our economy free, more people means more growth, the more the merrier. Study after study shows that even the most recent immigrants give more than they take.“
Wall Street Journal

”If the jury feels the law is unjust, we recognize the undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the law as given by a judge, and contrary to the evidence ... and the courts must abide by that decision.“
US v Moylan, 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1969, 417 F.2d at 1006

”Love your country but fear its government.“
N.E. folk wisdom

”Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.“

”It is our true policy to steer clear of entangling alliances with any portion of the foreign world. The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.“

George Washington

”Where is it written in the Constitution, in what section or clause is it contained, that you may take children from their parents and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battle in any war in which the folly or the wickedness of government may engage it?“
Daniel Webster

”Reduced employment opportunities is one effect of minimum wage legislation. The minimum wage law has imposed incalculable harm on the disadvantaged members of our society. The only moral thing to do is to repeal it.“

”There are many farm handouts; but let's call them what they really are: a form a legalized theft. Essentially, a congressman tells his farm constituency, 'Vote for me. I'll use my office to take another American's money and give it to you.'“

Walter Williams, economist and syndicated columnist

”Be wary of strong spirits. It can make you shoot at tax collectors ... and miss.“
Robert A. Heinlein

”Substituting God for alcohol or any other drug is indeed a swapping of dependencies. But last I looked, God didn't eat your liver.“

”The ultimate result of shielding men from the results of folly is to fill the world with fools.“ Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), ”State Tampering with Money and Banks“ (1891)

”If you protect a man from folly, you will soon have a nation of fools.“
- William Penn

”National Health Insurance means combining the efficiency of the Postal Service with the compassion of the I.R.S. .... and the cost accounting of the Pentagon.“
Louis Sullivan/Connie Horner quoted by Novak in _Forbes_

”Every dollar spent to punish a drug user or seller is a dollar that cannot be spent collecting restitution from a robber. Every hour spent investigating a drug user or seller is an hour that could have been used to find a missing child. Every trial held to prosecute a drug user or seller is court time that could be used to prosecute a rapist in a case that might otherwise have been plea bargained. - Randy E. Barnett, “Curing the Drug-Law Addiction”

“Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state; Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution...”
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Dec. 10, 1948) Approved by the United Nations with the nations of the Soviet bloc, Saudi Arabia, & South Africa abstaining.

“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.”
Henry David Thoreau

“Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA - ordinary citizens don't need guns, as their having guns doesn't serve the State.”
Heinrich Himmler

“See, when the Government spends money, it creates jobs; whereas when the money is left in the hands of Taxpayers, God only knows what they do with it. Bake it into pies, probably. Anything to avoid creating jobs.”

“Most of the presidential candidates' economic packages involve 'tax breaks,' which is when the government, amid great fanfare, generously decides not to take quite so much of your income. In other words, these candidates are trying to buy your votes with your own money.”

Dave Barry

“MTV may talk about lighting fires and killing children, but Janet Reno actually does something about it.”
Spy Magazine

The pig if I am not mistaken
Supplies us sausage, ham, and bacon.
Let others say his heart is big
I call it stupid of the pig.
O. Nash

“I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers.”
Jim Larkin